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Movie review: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World!
Credit: Marvel Studios
Credit: Marvel Studios

"Spidey," eat your heart out! You're not the only one operating in a multiverse, and if there's anything better than one Benedict Cumberbatch, it's two or three. That's what we get in the latest Marvel adventure. 

It's been nearly six years since were met the sorcerer, Doctor Strange, in his origin story. When he enters this time, it's in another universe where he encounters a young superhero, America Chavez, who can teleport through the multiverse. She's trying to keep a book of evil spells known as "the Darkhold" from the grips of a monster. 

Also wanting her paws on that book is Wanda Maximoff, or "Scarlet Witch," Strange's major nemesis in the film, played by Elizabeth Olsen. She's desperate to get back to her children. If you watched "WandaVision" on Disney+, you know what that's about. (In fact, it's almost required viewing to make sense of this.) 

And the story goes on from there. Strange's love interest, played by Rachel McAdams, returns. There's a wedding in the trailer. Is it theirs? My lips are sealed.

And by now, you've heard about the high court of superheroes, "The Illuminati," assembling. They gather to judge Strange and make for some awesome cameos. A new character drew an audible gasp from the audience.

You think the multiverse is layered ... the entire MCU has so many layers now. While it's a feast for fanboys, it's nearly impossible for the casual moviegoer to step in and understand what's going on. At one point, Strange gets the Darkhold, breaks through the mulitiverse and inhabits a corpse. Say whaaaat? Exactly!  

The movie is directed by Sam Raimi, who brought us the first "Spider-Man" trilogy. Some suggest this could be the first MCU horror movie. I wouldn't call it that, though it has some elements and is plenty dark. One of the more pleasant aspects: it clocks in at just over two hours. So, compared to other MCU movies, it might actually leave you wanting more.

Doctor Strange keeps asking: "are you happy?" If you want to leave happy, stay for the credit roll. We see fabulous casting of a new Marvel character. The scene at the very end, though, a letdown.

(Disney/Marvel. Rated PG-13. Running Time 2 hrs. 6 mins. In Theaters Only.)

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